2017 is the year I fulfill a lifelong dream: living abroad. I didn’t know how or when it would happen, but I knew I wanted it to. Owning a web design business allows me the opportunity to work from anywhere, to be a digital nomad. Beginning in January, I have decided to join a traveling community of professionals and take my work abroad.

For the first four months, I’m traveling with Hacker’s Paradise, an organization that puts together short-term, international trips for digital workers. Through them I’ll get to take part in language lessons, networking events with locals, and cultural immersion courses while building my business.

What an exciting time we live in that companies are springing up with the sole intention of creating remote worker trips! Maybe it has something to do with the fact that more than half the American workforce is predicted to be made of freelance employees by the year 2020.

Digital Nomad Priorities

In my own digital nomad year I’ll prioritize two things:

  1. My clients!
  2. My creative bottom line.

The first is pretty self-explanatory. My clients are the lifeblood of my business and I’ll take care to ensure they continue to get the same responsive service as always. I will be offering monthly Skype video check-ins and remaining wholly attentive. I’ll also still be using my US phone number, so you can call me without charge!

The second I’ll explain in more detail. Recently, one of my trusted mentors encouraged me to have a business bottom line and creative bottom line. His recommendation was that, in addition to regular client, project and financial goals, I also feed my creative side. For me, there’s nothing as inspirational as travel.

This globetrotting will allow me to flex my creative muscles and, as I do so, apply my new skills and expanded talents to my projects back home.

Jack Keouac - Remote Year

Projects on the Road

Of course, there are countless other benefits to travel. I personally can’t wait to immerse myself in new cultures and formulate a larger worldview. It is my belief that in doing so I’ll simultaneously grow my capacity for empathy and master a lesson in humility. In fact, I’m going to be writing a book about my travels, the people I meet, and the amazing food that I eat.

Project #2 is to continue the Designers Drink podcast. This sojourn will also give me the opportunity to talk with other designers around the world. What are their design philosophies? What inspires them? How do they interact with, deliver to and find their clients?

St Augustine - Remote Year

Where in the World is Carmen Sam-diego?

So where all will I be going? Good Question! As of now my tentative schedule for the next year will include stays in:

  • Buenos Aires, Argentina (3 hours ahead of Austin)
  • Lima, Peru (1 hr ahead)
  • Manchester, England (6 hrs ahead)
  • Edinburgh, Scotland (6 hrs ahead)
  • Amsterdam, Holland (7 hrs ahead)
  • Berlin, Germany (7 hrs ahead)
  • Croatia (7 hrs ahead)
  • Singapore (13 hrs ahead)
  • Sydney, Australia (16 hrs ahead)

I’ll find designated co-working spots in each locale and create community among other industry creative. However, if anyone reading this has connections in any of these international destinations I’d love to request an intro. While this trip will no doubt be incredibly stimulating, it’ll be nice to have reminders of home…even if only over a cup of coffee.

David Bowie - Remote Year

Want to keep up with me on my travels? I’ll be recounting stories on the blog and reporting new experiences on the Designers Drink podcast! I’d love for my clients to have the sense they are coming along too.

Friends, clients, co-workers: I’d like to close by extending my deepest gratitude for making this all possible. It is your continued business and referrals, which are allowing this dream to become a reality.

Know that I recognize how critical you are in all this and I’ll make every possible effort to do right by that.

Thank you digital world for your support!